Possible Duplicate:
Pluralization rule for “five-year-old children”, “20 pound note”, “10 mile run”
Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?

When talking about "one and a half" of any object, do we use the subsequent noun in plural or just singular? I'm aware that "A minute and a half" is also correct but I'm looking for the specific "One and a half"-construction here.

So for example, which of the below phrases is correct?

You're one and a half minutes late!


You're one and a half minute late!

Is there any difference when using the phrase as an adjective like so: "One-and-a-half-minute recipe"?

  • General Reference - Googling "one and a half", it's easy to see without leaving the Google homepage that wherever these words are followed by a noun, it's always in the plural. Apr 4 '12 at 17:38
  • @FumbleFingers I got that far. Try Googling for "one and a half minute", it'll yield a great number of results as well. Which is exactly why I'm asking. My gut feeling tells me to use the plural as well.
    – Pylsa
    Apr 4 '12 at 17:43
  • 1
    I guess. The difference is certainly a lot clearer on a Google NGram. Or Google "one and a half hour", and most of the top 10 results are actually concerned with explaining why this is wrong. Apr 4 '12 at 17:49
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    Also Plurality of numbers between -1 and 1
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Apr 4 '12 at 18:16
  • @FumbleFingers et al. - 1.5 is not between -1 and 1. "Duplicate" is harsh. Also, Google search results are not an authoritative source. It would be enough to cross-reference to the similar answer. Apr 4 '12 at 18:54

When you say "one and a half" you are referencing more than one minute, so you must use the plural form "minutes".

  • Except perhaps for a single sesquiminute. :)
    – tchrist
    Apr 4 '12 at 17:42
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    Is there any difference when using the phrase as an adjective like so: "One-and-a-half-minute recipe"?
    – Pylsa
    Apr 4 '12 at 17:44
  • 1
    @BloodPhilia: The expression one-and-a-half-minute is a "composite adjective", which invariably uses the singular (and no - I can't explain why that is! :) Apr 4 '12 at 17:52
  • @BloodPhilia Indeed there is. Those sorts of things are always in the singular: a two-day drive, a four-week course, a five-month delay, a nine-year absence.
    – tchrist
    Apr 4 '12 at 17:53
  • @tchrist,BloodPhilia: It's "sorta" covered by this earlier question, but I can't derive a definitive principle from anything posted there. Apr 4 '12 at 18:03

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